The year is fast coming to a close, and the marijuana industry is still riding the tide of all the changes that 2018 brought. From the widespread legalization of marijuana to the release of different marijuana-infused products, isn’t it any wonder that so many marijuana enthusiasts around the world are celebrating? Let’s kick off our 2018 round-up with a few significant facts:

2018 Facts and Figures

• Cannabis has two major species, namely sativa, and indica.
• Marijuana (commonly used for smoking) and hemp (scientifically known as sativa L., cultivated for industrial purposes) are two varieties of the cannabis plant.
• There are 779 strains that we know of. With various budtenders cross-breeding one strain with another, it is reasonable to assume that there are more than 779 varieties you can sample and enjoy.
• Because of hybridization practices, breeders have developed various rare and exotic strains that are highly sought after for their unique flavors, aromas, and appearances, as well as the one-of-a-kind sensations they give.
• Statista’s latest report on the number of medicinal marijuana patients shows that there are millions of patients benefiting from this plant’s properties. In May 2018, California had the highest number of users with 915,845 patients followed by Michigan with 269,553 patients.
• There was an anticipated increase in product sales in 2018 from USD 2.9 billion to USD 3.8 billion.

Recent Developments in Legalization

With a little more insight into the successes of the industry, you might be curious as to what brought on these advancements. The answer is simple: it is slowly but surely being accepted and legalized in many places. Just this October 2018, Canada followed in the footsteps of Uruguay and legalized the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana nationwide. There are various laws in every province or territory, but this sure is a welcome change in the country. These laws cover various aspects of marijuana possession, distribution, and price.

Following the mid-term elections in November 2018, medical marijuana is now legal in 33 US states and Washington, DC. Of the 33 states, 9 (including Washington, DC) permit the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. CBD, with low THC content, is permitted for medicinal use in 14 states. So far, only three states, namely Idaho, South Dakota, and Kansas, maintain a complete ban on cannabis and cannabinoids. Meanwhile, American lawmakers have reached an agreement on the Farm Bill which will legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

In light of these developments, it is important to mention that the Canadian company, Canopy Growth Corporation, was able to make its first legal transfer of cannabis products. In fact, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) gave them an import permit, allowing them to get these marijuana products to a research partner in the US. Canopy Growth Corporation is a leader when it comes to maximizing what the plant has to offer.

These developments in legalization are huge wins for the cannabis industry not only because of the projected increase in sales but more importantly the benefits of this plant becoming more accessible.

Latest News in Research and Development

The legalization of marijuana has led to some important developments in the area of R&D in 2018. Here are some of the highlights:

Marijuana Breathalyzer

While it cannot be denied that there is a degree of social acceptance when it comes to the possession and use of cannabis, the fact remains that the authorities still maintain that, on a federal level, it is illegal. Of course, rules such as driving under the influence still apply to all users. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working on ways to measure the THC and CBD levels in a driver, the same way alcohol breathalyzers work.

While they can successfully detect the presence of THC and CBD levels on the breath; they do face other challenges like the rapid rate at which cannabinoids leave the bloodstream.

It Lowers Opioid Use

In April 2018, it was discovered that government-approved medicinal marijuana could dramatically reduce opioid use. This is good news considering the number of people who are addicted to, abusing and overdosing on opiates such as morphine and fentanyl.

Cannabis Products that Emerged in 2018

In the 60s and 70s, there was only one way to consume marijuana: by smoking it. Now there are a wide variety of cannabis strains you can experiment with and nothing to stop you from exploring what this herb can do. Some of the latest products that have emerged this year include:

• Edibles and Drinkables

What better way to ingest this wonder herb than to mix it with delicious treats and satisfying drinks? With the growing popularity of homemade baked goods, businesses took the opportunity to sell high-quality marijuana-infused products. Kiva is one of the leading manufacturers and sellers of these goodies. From fruity gummies and fresh mints to delectable chocolate bars and even non-chocolate confection, you can try out these mouth-watering sweets that offer a unique kick.

If you are craving a good drink, just head to your local dispensary, and you are sure to find cannabis drinkables. Looking to soothe your senses? You might want to try one of Kikoko’s teas. Their herbal drinks are mixed with a helping of this wonder plant. The great thing is you can choose a variety that can help improve your sleep, lift your mood, relieve your pains, and enhance your sex life.

Those in need of their morning coffee fix should check out marijuana coffee from Pot-o-Coffee. There is a wide selection of blends that offer various experiences for your taste buds. Enjoy a full-bodied brew for your morning cup or get one with caramel and vanilla tones for a more tasty helping.

• Body and Beauty Care

Perhaps one of the most innovative ways cannabis is being ingested in 2018 is through body and beauty care products. With CBD being hyped as a highly medicinal compound, more and more people are adding it to their beauty regiment. From marijuana-laced soap bars and shampoos to CBD-rich ointments and balms, you can use these products to treat dandruff, acne, and even psoriasis.

Clean your pores using The CBD Skincare Co.’s CBD-Infused Exfoliating Cleanser and rid your face of dirt and grime and prevent blackheads. If ‘bags under the eyes’ is your problem, you might want to try CBD for Life’s eye serum. With seed oil and hyaluronic acid, you can go about your day without worrying about the bags under your eyes.

2018 saw many body and beauty care companies focusing on using cannabis as a way to improve their products so keep your eyes peeled for those.

• Vape Pens

The infamy surrounding cigarettes was matched only by the rise of vaping as an alternative. Even without the marijuana content, these devices are gaining ground because vaping offers a healthier means of ingesting nicotine and even non-nicotine juices. With the introduction of cannabis, vaping has become a more exciting experience. You can choose from a variety of juices with varied amounts of CBD and THC content.

What’s exciting about this new way of consuming cannabinoids is that you get to pick flavors that suit your taste. Whether you like fruity notes or savory ones, you can get an e-juice that can satisfy your taste buds. This way, you can easily get your cannabinoid fix in a fun and tasty way, while perfectly blending in with the vaping crowd.

• ‘Luxury Pot’

This herb is becoming more and more mainstream as the years go by. With its impending mainstream popularity, various brands have emerged to provide a ‘luxury’ version of this miracle plant. Defonce Chocolatier offers artisanal chocolate bars infused with dried buds in a wide range of flavors. These 20-dollar candies come in matcha, coffee, and mint flavors. You can also check out the selections from Beboe. Dubbed ‘The Hermes of Marijuana,’ their items come in luxe packaging with an equally sleek appearance. Try out their stylish vape pens or take some of their pastilles to get your quick fix of this herb.

• Dog Treats

Who would have thought you could feed cannabis products to your dogs? With recent developments, you can now share the benefits of this herb with your animal companion. Giving your dog these treats can address problems such as inflammation, mood issues, skin conditions, and muscle spasms. Keep in mind that these items are mixed with a lower dosage of cannabinoids to make it more compatible with a dog’s body. Moreover, make sure that you only give a controlled amount to your pet.

Cannabis is indeed a wonder plant but what’s more wonderful is the continuous developments the industry has enjoyed in 2018 — new products, legal progress, and even new strains have made this year one for the books for the marijuana industry and enthusiasts. With greater support for this miracle herb, we can certainly look forward to another year full of good news and weedy goodness.